Fourth George C. Marshall Visit to Austria Program on Smart Cities and Urban Technologies Held in April

bridges, vol. 33, May 2012 / Noteworthy Information

"Austria is probably 10 years ahead of the US in regard to urban planning and implemented technologies," was the credo heard from visiting US experts in urban planning who participated in the 4th George C. Marshall Visit to Austria Program in April 2012. A mutual European and Austrian political agenda for climate protection, more political influence in urban planning, and generous subsidy schemes create a favorable environment and incentives for policy makers, industry, and the public to collaborate on innovative solutions for the cities and metropolitan areas of tomorrow.

The George C. Marshall Visit to Austria Program was established in 2007 by the Austrian government to recognize the assistance Austria received from the US after World War II. Every year, the program brings to Austria a group of decision makers from the US Congress and administration, various federal and state-level agencies, as well as think tanks and industry associations to highlight Austrian innovations in industry and technology. The program's objective is to improve mutual understanding through communication at personal and professional levels, coordinated and administered by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs.

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Marshall 2012 PfaffenauFrom April 9 to 14, 2012, the US delegation, accompanied by representatives from the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC, and the Austrian Trade Commission in Chicago, met with Austrian officials from federal ministries and agencies and Austrian experts and companies in the field of urban development. Participants in the American delegation included representatives from the cities of Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, the US Conference of Mayors, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Urban Land Institute, and Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program (click here for an article about the visit written by Adie Tomer of Brookings).

This year's Marshall Visit to Austria led the US delegation to Vienna, Austria's capital and largest city, and Graz, Austria's second largest city. Multiple presentations focused on Austria's perspective on sustainable city management and introduced a variety of successful projects in this area, such as a site visit to the Pfaffenau thermal waste treatment plant in Vienna. The agenda also included visits to the Austrian Institute of Technology, the Austrian Parliament, and a meeting with Maria Vassilakou, deputy mayor of Vienna and executive city councilor for urban planning, traffic & transport, climate protection, energy, and public participation.